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Developing 3 D Spatial Visualization Skills For Non Engineering Students

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Conference

2005 Annual Conference

Location

Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Visualization

Page Count

11

Page Numbers

10.428.1 - 10.428.11

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/15370

Download Count

274

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Paper Authors

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Paul Charlesworth

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Thomas Drummer

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Kedmon Hungwe

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Sheryl Sorby

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Abstract
NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Developing 3-D Spatial Visualization Skills for Non-Engineering Students

Sheryl A. Sorby, Thomas Drummer, Kedmon Hungwe, Paul Charlesworth Michigan Technological University

Abstract The ability to visualize objects and situations in one’s mind and to manipulate those images is a cognitive skill vital to many career fields, especially those requiring work with graphical images. Unfortunately, of all cognitive processes that have been investigated, spatial cognition shows some of the most robust gender differences favoring males, especially in the ability to mentally rotate 3-dimensional objects. This has obvious implications for our attempts to encourage gender equity in technical and scientific fields. At Michigan Tech we have been offering a course aimed at improving the 3-D spatial skills of engineering students since 1993. Through a subsequent grant, we developed nine multimedia software and workbook modules for developing 3-D spatial skills. In the Fall of 2004, we were awarded a grant from the National Science Foundation to extend our training materials and activities to students in majors other than engineering and to investigate gender differences in preferred learning/training styles. This paper summarizes the results from our research to date with non-engineering majors and discusses implications for the future.

Background The ability to visualize objects and situations in one’s mind and to manipulate those images is a cognitive skill vital to many career fields, especially those requiring work with graphical images. Evidence suggests that well-developed spatial skills are critical to success in Engineering, Chemistry, Computer Science, Mathematics, Physics, Medicine, Dentistry, and many other fields. Spatial abilities have been widely studied and are known to be fundamental to higher-level thinking, reasoning, and creative processes. Unfortunately, of all cognitive processes that have been investigated, spatial cognition shows some of the most robust gender differences favoring males, especially in the ability to mentally rotate 3-dimensional objects. This has obvious implications for our attempts to encourage gender equity in technical and scientific fields. Recognizing the importance of well-developed spatial skills for technological careers, the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) has included benchmarks regarding the development of spatial abilities within the Pre-college Mathematics Educational Standards (NCTM, 2000) and middle school mathematics education has been a focus of national interest due mainly to the results of the Third International Mathematics and Science Study, and state, national and local standards (Ai, 2002).

Fortunately, although individuals vary in spatial performance, research has shown that most, if not all, of the component skills can be improved through training and practice.

Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2005, American Society for Engineering Education

Charlesworth, P., & Drummer, T., & Hungwe, K., & Sorby, S. (2005, June), Developing 3 D Spatial Visualization Skills For Non Engineering Students Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. https://peer.asee.org/15370

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